A judge hits Alex Jones with a fresh ruling. A jury in Texas decided on Thursday that Alex Jones must pay the parents of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim $4.1 million. This is in compensatory damages for the suffering caused by his lies about the 2012 massacre. On Friday, the jury ordered Jones to pay an additional $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents.
Wesley Ball, an attorney for Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was killed in the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, had requested that the jury award them $149.5 million. This is in order to reach the initial goal of $150 million that they had set for themselves. Jesse was killed in the attack.
Ball contended that a quantity of money of this kind would be the only thing that could “take the bullhorn away” from Jones.
“I beg you, no matter what your decision is, to not just take away the place where Alex Jones spreads his propaganda. I am requesting that you take measures to prevent him from reassembling the platform. That is the point at hand, “he added. “Not only is that a punishment, but it is also a deterrent.”
The counsel for Jones, Andino Reynal, told the jury that they had already sent a message to Jones. This is also to other talk show hosts with the $4.1 million judgment, telling them that “their standard of care must be different.” In addition to this, he suggested that a significant reward would simply serve to dissuade people from questioning “government officials who missed the ball” by making it more likely that they would get the award.
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Judge hits Alex Jones with a fresh ruling
Reynal raised an objection to the ruling, claiming that it did not conform to Texas law. This law places a limit of $750,000 per plaintiff on the amount that can actually be awarded. The concern was noted by the judge, who went on to say that the statute gives the impression that “we don’t trust our jurors” in the state.
Damages that are given as a form of punishment are meant to be a form of payback for very bad behavior.
The decision was made by the jury after hearing the expert testimony of forensic economist Bernard Pettingill. Pettingill’s testimony was intended to give the jury a picture of how much money Jones has. Also, by extension, how much would it take to punish him for his behavior. The decision was made after the testimony was heard.
Pettingill stated that Jones and his companies made more money after being “deplatformed.” This is by several social media outlets in 2018, a claim that was disputed by Jones’ legal team. Jones’ legal team contested Pettingill’s valuation of Jones and his companies, which ranged from $135 million to $270 million. Jones has said throughout the trial that his companies have lost money since he was taken off the website.
Pettingill also testified that once Jones was held guilty by a default judgment in the Sandy Hook case, he immediately started paying $11,000 per day into a shell business that he owned.
It was his testimony that “he is a highly successful man.” He may be said to have “spread some hate speech and some disinformation. However, he made a lot of money, and he monetized that,” we may say of him.
The First Amendment Claim
The sole question before the jury in this case was whether or not Jones, who had already been found liable by a judge because he failed to hand over critical evidence before the trial began, must also pay Jesse’s parents for the emotional distress and reputational damage caused by his false claims. The judge had already found Jones liable because he failed to hand over critical evidence before the trial began.
Both of Jones’s parents and Jones himself testified throughout the trial. Jones has framed the case as an assault on his rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. After the massacre, he claimed that it was a fabrication and that it involved crisis actors. In a later statement, he admitted that the event had taken place.
Heslin and Lewis testified on Tuesday that they were put in dread for their lives. This is as a result of Jones’ falsehoods, which exacerbated their sense of loss.
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Speaking directly to Jones while she was testifying, Lewis said, “Having a 6-year-old son shot in front of his classroom is unbearable and you don’t think you’re going to survive and then to have someone on top of that perpetuate a lie that it was a hoax, that it was a false flag,” Lewis said. He directed his comments to Jones. “I don’t think you realize the dread that you perpetuate. This is not just for the family of the victim, but also for our family, our friends. This also includes any survivor from that school,” said the victim’s sister.
Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly
The most important piece of evidence in this case is an episode of “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” from 2017. This is a show in which Heslin came on the show and contested Jones’ denial that the shooting had taken place. During the course of the episode, Heslin reveals that he “held my son with a gunshot hole through his head.”
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Jones and another host on Infowars, Owen Shroyer then said that Heslin had made up the story. Heslin and Lewis are among several Sandy Hook families who have filed lawsuits against Jones. They argue that his statements that the mass shooting was a hoax have led to years of abuse from his followers.